Patriotism and Dissent
Since September 11, the United States has experienced a rising tide of patriotism. The proliferation of American flags, as well as caps and t-shirts emblazoned with the initials of the New York Fire Department, expresses both national outrage at the horrors of the day and the shared pride in the extraordinary heroism of the hundreds who sacrificed their lives trying to assist others. This patriotism has also found expression in broad support for the federal government's military campaign in Afghanistan and its efforts to prevent terrorism at home. At the same time, many fear that the accompanying suspension of civil liberties for thousands who have been detained in association with the September 11 events undermine the very values of due process and free expression that define our democracy.
This month's feature introduces a two-part series of primary sources and study questions intended to offer historical perspective on the meaning of patriotism and the value of dissent, even in times of crisis. Challenges to American civil liberties have a long history, and Jewish women's experiences can shed light on these vital questions.